Sunday, September 27, 2009

Where's Your Aspen?

Hello....from Aspen...Maroon Bells...RMNP...and Loveland.

I know it's been a month since Labor day, but this was an exciting weekend that I have to write about. This weekend started a few days early for us and it began when we picked up Kristin, Sickel and TJ at the Denver Airport. Little did they know we had 4 hours of driving to go until we arrived in Aspen. Scott's new big red truck was hauling 5 people, all of our luggage, more bear food, a few cases of beer and a pop-up camper!

Our drive consisted of stopping every 30 minutes so Kristin could pee.... but we knew we were in Aspen when every other vehicle we passed was a Land Rover. We may have been in rich country, but were anxious to set up camp in the middle of the Aspen trees and begin our weekend.

Too be honest, if I sat here and typed out every story, every inside joke, and every adventure from the weekend, this blog may never end. Some of you may appreciate a long blog, but I am going to keep it short and brief you on a few highlights.

Aspen is home to a famous road named Independence Pass. Not only can you find some breathtaking sites while driving on this road, but once you get to the top you'll find the Continental Divide. Of course we had to take pictures with the sign! (See above)

Our next stop was Maroon Bells. The Maroon Bells are mountain peaks (It's okay, I didn't know that either-haha), but they are the most photographed peaks in all of North America. They certainly are impressive; however, it was a little overcast that afternoon.

Did I mention, this adventure filled day, was also my birthday?! We ended up celebrating at a place called Bad Billy's in downtown Aspen. It was there that the bartenders introduced us to "Shot Skis"... it's a ski that holds a few shot glasses. The bartender takes the ski and fills up the glasses, then everyone lines up and flips the ski! It was a blast, but caused quite the hangover the next day. (Shh.. I may or may not have knocked over an animal statue that night too)

And how can you visit Colorado and not go to Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP) so of course we had to take them to the summit and walk all 153 of those gruesome steps to the top. We didn't make it more than 20 steps up, when Sickel was begging for an oxygen tank! Eventually...we all made it!

Those steps may have killed Sickel, but I think the actual drive to the top gave Kristin a mild heart attack. The windy road with 500ft drop-offs and NO guard rails certainly doesn't help someone who may be afraid of heights. Let's just say, that afternoon we found out that Kristin doesn't like heights (and the boys like making it worse). She made it though!

So after playing tourist all weekend we decided to actually spend some time relaxing, playing washers, enjoying board games, watching planet earth, competing against each other in bad mitten and swimming like fish in our pool.

All in all the weekend was a success. We learned that Kristen loves salt, hates heights and pees more than most of our grandmothers. We learned that TJ hates Kristin (ha!), believes that a female mule is called "Mars," and enjoys making fun of Scott for having "4 eyes". We learned that Sickel actually gives a shit, may be the next Colorado Governor, and enjoys walking through water. And well Scott and I live together - so we have learned a little too much about each other the past three months.

As for the rest of you, start planning visits so I can take more than a month to blog about it :) We are excited to be hosts again and play 'tourists' - so we hope to see you all soon! Until next time, be good and smile. oj.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

What did you do today?

Hello Again... it's been awhile. I decided to take a sabbatical from blogging the past month. No not really, I lied. However, in the mix of my busy life the past few weeks, I have learned that Scott isn't the only person who reads my blog (and he already knows half the stuff I write about).

Some who I talk with everyday, some I see a few times a year, some who I have only met a few times, and others who I never expected! I guess that means I better keep up this active Colorado life so I can continue to entertain you folks. So I want to apologize for my lack of writing the past few weeks. Although, maybe now I am refreshed... and may possibly come back with a bang. (I won't make any promises) continuation from my last blog. Wow that really was a long time ago. It was actually Summer in Colorado then (now it's Winter). Anyways, after that hungry bear incident, Scott and I continued with our plans to visit Pikes Peak and Garden of the Gods. Pikes Peak is the most visited mountain in North America and the second most visited mountain in the world behind Japan's Mount Fuji. Wow I hope websites don't lie. At an altitude of 14,110 feet above sea level, Pikes Peak is the 31st highest peak out of 54 Colorado peaks. Maybe I will make it to all 54 one day... doubtful! Anyways, it's nice to dream.

So after a long drive... switch back after switch back... and a little altitude sickness later, WE MADE IT! I still consider myself a tourist in this state, so of course, I have to get pictures with these signs. Plus it proves to you that I don't make this stuff up!

Here is a picture of the view from the top. Kind of looks like a painting, huh? Oh and that rail car is full of people. This cog railway runs year round. Imagine riding to the top of the peak in the middle of winter! Kind of like climbing to the top of Mt. Everest, only different. Sounds rewarding enough for me!

Following that adventure we headed to the Garden of the Gods. Basically, it's a park full of large red rock formations. Wow, with a description like that, I bet you are jumping out of your chair. (Not!) However, when you see it in person, it may give you the feeling of wanting to jump up and down. It's almost liberating to see something so natural and fascinating.

Here is just one of the many views you see while driving through the park.

Here is an up close and personal shot with the rock formation.

By the end of the day, we had almost forgotten about our hungry bear the night before. Well no, not really, but we had to stop for more food... hoping "pooh-bear" wouldn't visit us again.

Sunday morning arrived, without the interruption of our bear friend, and Scott decided to make the world's largest pancake.

I guess you call that talent?!

Even though I was thinking about leaving Scott and his pancake at the campground as more bear food, we decided to pack up and head home. We had one stop to make on the way! That stop was the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs. We walked around campus, well as much of the grounds as visitors are allowed and visited the infamous Cadet Chapel.

Isn't that beautiful? The architecture is simply amazing.

I hope you enjoyed the continuation of that great weekend. I promise to be back to write more soon. Until then, be good and smile! OJ :)

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